Shared living spaces seem to coincide with shared germs, a fact I’ve found out all too much the hard way since the beginning of college. The “college plague” is a very real force, sweeping the hallways of our cramped, close-quartered dorms and resulting in a seemingly never-ending sea of colds and coughs. Keep popping that Advil and stay safe kids, it’s a pretty germy world out there.
While my countertop may be littered with Ibuprofen jars and handmade home-remedies, I’ve started to think about other ways I can heal; not only my raspy voice and achy chest but also my very being, my soul you could say. Advil can only go so far, but what really makes you feel well, feel whole and happy, is having a soul filled completely to the brim.
My mom always used to tell me to find my “soul medicine” when I would have a hard day back home, whenever my head pounded away or my heart simply ached. Soul medicine, she told me, could heal any sort of illness, from those that are measured on a thermometer to those that seem to be measured by how hard it was to get out of bed in the morning. With the seemingly inevitable forecast of the “college plague”, combined with the stress and anxiety of holiday plans and midterm grades and high-stakes elections and still-unsure transitions, I think the world is more in need of some soul medicine than ever before.
So what is soul medicine you ask? My mom always told me that soul medicine was doing one thing every day that makes you feel entirely complete, no matter how big or small. Soul medicine is fresh air, sitting outdoors, taking something you have to do outside to soak up that full-spectrum light. Soul medicine is cooking your favorite food, eating something that makes you feel strong, sharing a meal with someone you love. Soul medicine is running that mile you never thought you could, exploring that trail you’ve always wanted to, or even just doing yoga in the middle of your living room. Soul medicine is talking to someone who makes you feel entirely loved, or taking a little time alone to truly love yourself.
To me, my soul medicine consists of my favorite sweaters and taking photos and talking to my little sister on the phone. My soul fills up with mid-afternoon breezes and chocolate chip waffles and really, truly spectacular hugs. This kind of medicine exists anywhere, everywhere, and I truly believe that searching for the beauty in the world, the good in the world, is soul medicine in itself.
So keep popping those cough drops and drinking that peppermint tea, but also start noticing your soul medicine. Get outside and eat good food and love with all your heart, because at the core of everything is what makes up your heart and your soul and your being, the things that will always make you who are you in the face of any stress or transition or sore throat. Find those little things that make you feel fulfilled and embrace them completely.
Don’t forget about that peppermint tea entirely though, flu season is now upon us.